A word from Pope Francis ~ “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”
It is not very exciting to debate when the Church Year should begin or end. Maybe it does neither, especially since ending and beginning themes seem to sound alike and to flow into each other. But there is a Sunday when we come to the end of one year’s reading of a specific Gospel and turn our attention to another. That Sunday happens to be today, as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
This weekend, we conclude our reading from the Gospel of Luke, which we began last Advent. Week after week, we have been journeying through this Gospel, and we have heard it proclaimed in almost its entirety. Today, we see Jesus, the true King of the Universe, on the cross. Real power does not come from grasping and hoarding, but in letting go. In letting go and offering his life for us, Jesus conquered our greatest enemies – sin and death. Next week, on the First Sunday of Advent, we will begin a new Church Year. We will change cycles in our Sunday Scripture readings and begin reading from the Gospel of Matthew for a year. Matthew’s picture of the person of Jesus will unfold before us.
This weekend, we have the opportunity to participate in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, CCHD has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout the country. CCHD funds more than 300 projects each year, helping people to work within their own communities to create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages and organize for change. CCHD is a practical way for us to respond to Pope Paul VI’s exhortation, “If you want peace, work for justice.” If you are able to make an additional contribution to this cause, you may use the envelopes that were included in the packets mailed to our homes, the white envelopes in the pew racks, or make a gift through our website.
We are happy to again provide the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas” this year. English and Spanish editions are available in the Narthex. This year’s edition offers six-minute reflections on the First Reading for daily Mass during the Advent/Christmas season. These brief daily reflections invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” We begin our program of “six minutes a day” on the first Sunday of Advent, November 27. With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer.
Time for some wonderful news – we have recently reached our parish goal in paid pledges for the 2022 Joliet Diocesan Catholic Ministries Annual Appeal! The last time we reached our goal was 6 years ago. Thank you to the 667 families who made and paid their pledges to help us exceed our parish goal of $154,900. Please continue making your pledge payments, since our excess will go to help other parishes who are unable to reach their goals, as others helped us over the past years when we did not reach our goal. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
This Thursday – Thanksgiving Day! A wonderful way to begin the day is by celebrating Eucharist with our parish family. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Thanksgiving morning at 9:00 am in the church. Please join us as we give thanks to our God for the many gifts with which we have been blessed.
Please note that our Parish Offices will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday. Daily Mass on Friday will be celebrated at 8:15 am only.
Through the goodness of God, we have completed another Liturgical Year. As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe this weekend and Thanksgiving this Thursday, we thank God for all of the blessings that we have experienced this past year. We wish you all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day and weekend. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy